Discover 5 simple ways to represent timeline in PowerPoint slides. Get inspired to create a number of variations of your own.
Usefulness of PowerPoint timeline:
A timeline is probably one of the most used diagrams in a business presentation. Whether you want to represent milestones of your organization’s growth or year wise progress of your project, you can’t do without a timeline chart.
Why create a ready to use template for timeline?
The answer is simple: to leverage your effort multiple times. Since every other presentation has timeline represented in some form or the other, it makes sense to create a set of good templates to show timeline. You can pick and stick the chart instantly to give a professional look to your slides.
Here are some basic ways you can create a timeline template:
1. Using repeat elements to represent milestones
Take a look at the following timeline template:
A common way to represent timeline is to use a series of repeat elements like chevrons or arrows. They are easy to create and easy to understand. You can enhance your message effectiveness with the following:
- Group each chevron with its corresponding explanation.Use custom animation to let each groupappear on click. This gives you time to take your audience through each phase in detail.
- Differentiate the point of discussion using a different color while keeping the rest of the colors constant. See the following example:
You can use any tool from auto shape to serve as repeat element, as long as the shape indicates forward movement.
A diagram with a similar layout is a roadmap. You can find a tutorial to create a Roadmap here
2. Using a continuous element with separators
Take a look at the following slide:
This is a classic example of using a continuous element with separators. Pipe represents continuity while the beads ( glossy balls) represent milestones.
While separate chevrons used in the previous example give an indication of distinct phases in the lifecycle of a project, a connecting element in the above example indicates continuity.
The power of this idea can be taken forward to engage your audience.
A Creative Alternative with Demo:
I’ve seen a presenter use a knotted rope to demonstrate the hardships faced during new product development. As she moved from one knot to another she explained the different issues faced during the specific phases. She then untied each knot as she explained the way the team overcame the issue.
She finished her talk by inviting everyone from the audience to hold a part of the rope and form a circle to signify successful project completion
She translated the slide into a simple demonstration with a great result.
3. Using call outs along the PowerPoint timeline
Here is a variation of the previous idea:
Here we used a callout along the various points of the timeline. This gives an informal feel to the events instead of the usual ‘corporate’ or ‘official’ feel.
We’ve seen people use photos and captions inside the call outs to add variety.
A Creative Alternative to PowerPoint:
A marketing agency explained the history of a product brand by playing ‘Ad jingles’ over the years. Each milestone had an attached audio file.
The presenter darkened the room and invited the audience to close their eyes and listen to the audio Ads. The experience transported the audience to the past and made them feel the way the brand transformed over the years with changing culture and technology.
4. Using a calendar to mark the events
A simple way to represent a PowerPoint timeline is to use a calendar. This is especially useful when you want to showcase a schedule. For example, the following slide shows ‘booked’ and ‘available’dates in a month:
Creative Alternative to PowerPoint:
I’ve seen a project manager using a large calendar to get time commitments from the team for various key deliverables.
The signatures of team members and the list of deliverables on a large page with dates not only hold them accountable, but also show that the success of the project depends on teamwork and commitment.
5. Use a symbolic representation of time
If a calendar looks too formal, you can use a symbolic representation of timeline. For example, take a look at the following slide:
Various months in a year are represented as hours in the clock. You can animate the segments to take the audience through the timeline in stages.
Conclusion about PowerPoint Timeline:
Sometimes, the tools you use to present your ideas are as critical as the ideas you represent. It is especially true in the case of representing a timeline.
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